Posts Tagged ‘Menus’

My best friend and her hubby were to come down to the big smoke for our holiday brunch today, but sadly the weather in god’s country prevented this from happening. So JT and I enjoyed an elaborate Mexican brunch all to ourselves.

The menu:

  • Whole wheat pesto pin wheels (gluten light)
  • Southwestern corn chowder
  • Heuvos Rancheros
  • Lemon squares with vanilla ice cream and strawberry coulis

Southwestern Corn Chowder (an adaptation of Michael Smith’s Southwestern Corn Soup)

Southwestern Corn Chowder

Serves 4; 3/4 cup portions

  • 2 tablespoons of corn, vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 small onions, thinly sliced (I omitted onions as Michael doesn’t like them!)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 cups of chicken broth, homemade or canned (I used sodium reduced)
  • 1 ancho pepper (I only had dried)
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp pancetta, crispy fried
  • 4 tbsp crème fraiche
  • 2 tbsp cilantro oil
  1. Heat oil and sauté onions until soft. Add garlic and sauté just until you can smell it. Add cumin and smoked paprika and stir until combined. Add ancho pepper.
  2. Add 2 cups of corn and stock. Cook until corn is very soft. Add cilantro.
  3. With an immersion blender, blend until corn is creamed well. Press through a fine seive to get all the corn skin. Add lime juice and stir well.
  4. Garnish with 1 tbsp crème fraiche, pancetta and cilantro oil. Serve warm.
  5. Enjoy!

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We survived another Paul & T weekend!

Paul & T did a marathon drive, starting at 4am Chicago time. They made great time and arrived around 2pm! Then we packed up the car and drove another 4 hours to the cottage.

Let me just say, we survived! 1.75L of Gooseco (Costco’s version of Grey Goose) and about a dozen bottles of wine with little to no fog. I’m not bragging, just relieved! Cocktails begun promptly at 4 (on Sunday it was more like 5 because someone was napping!!!) Weather was fantastic and food was yum! We laughed so much. It’s always such a blast with our good friends Paul and T.

Here is the menu:

Friday Lunch: Quickie salami pizza with mixed cheese (I just used soft fajita shells (flax seed fajitas) drizzled with olive oil, some Italian tomato paste, home mixed grated cheese and of course, salami)

Cocktails: Home made Eva’s Flatbreads with black bean dip and guacamole (home made too!!)

Dinner: Grilled chicken and mango salad with a lime dressing; almond and cranberry sugar tart.

Saturday Breakfast: Anna Olson’s Heuvos Rancheros – it was delicious – however, I would recommend poaching the eggs instead of baking them, you have more control over how well or runny they are!

Saturday Lunch: the LCBO’s Mushroom and Leek tart with a side salad (they haven’t posted the recipe on-line yet)

Saturday Dinner: Epicurious’s Braised Beef and Onions (slow cooker) I added potatoes to make it a bit heartier! Crepes Suzette

Sunday Breakfast: Goat’s cheese, spinach and sundried tomato frittata’s with homebaked walnut bread (from Anna and Michael Olson’s cookbook from On the Twenty!)

Sunday Lunch: Hungarian Lecso (cubanello pepper with sausage stew)

Sunday Dinner: Slow cooked BBQ’d ribs (I make my own rub and BBQ sauce as I am not fond of sweet) with German Potato Salad, Madeleines (really really easy) with Grand Marnier macerated strawberries.

Monday Breakfast: Chocolate Croissants (not home made, but from a French bakery). Note to self, croissants don’t freeze well. Next time it will be Montreal bagels and cream cheese.

The weather was phenomenal, lots of sun, not too hot, just perfect! A bit of paddle boating, a long walk up to our lookout at the top of our property and lots and lots of laughing. It was a fantastic time.

Looking forward to our next visit! Hopefully soon as we’ve already gotten into the Gooseco!

Luv you guys!

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Countdown to Jays vs Cubs

Paul and T are coming up to see the Jays play the Cubs (hope I got the right animal!) We are all going to the baseball game!

Countdown Clock Jays vs. Cubs

Friday Dinner:
Cocktails and Hors D’oeuvres: Home baked cheese sticks (these are the best) and Bacon wrapped dates

Provencal Fish Soup with Saffron Rouille

Roast of Beef Tenderloin with Balsamic Reduction, Asparagus, Garden Salad (yup, this is salad grown in our little garden!!!!)
Home made Vanilla Terroni Ice Cream


French Toast, Sausage yogurt and pure maple syrup

out? (depends on diversion)

Cocktails and Hors D’oeuvres: Korozot and crackers

Cucumber salad with vinegar dressing
Chicken Paprikas and nokedli
Cherry Squares


Lunch: out?
Cocktails and Hors D’oeuvres: Sizzling Mushrooms (goat cheese) with french stick

Old Fashioned Shrimp Cocktail
Beer Butt Chicken, Morrocan Couscous, Green and Yellow Zuchinni, Cranberry sauce
Lemon Pie


Oatmeal and Bran

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Flowers from Tina and Todd.

We had very good friends, the Evans’s and Todd and Tina (lead carpenter from reno) over for dinner this Saturday (Todd is working with Rob on HGTV).

Here is the menu:

Round 1: Champagne and Hors D’oeuvres (3 tiers hors d’oeuvres)

  • Smoked salmon, crème fraiche on chive biscuits with caper
  • Bacon wrapped dates
  • Vegetable platter (for those of us watching our girlish figures)

Round 2:

  • Roasted Red Pepper, Boconcinni & Arugula Salad with balsamic reduction dressing

Round 3:

  • Caesar Shrimp shots (home roasted tomatoes, onions and garlic, puréed with a dash of vodka, tobasco and horse radish) in a cute little shot glass

Round 4:

  • Medallions of Beef Tenderloin with a balsamic glaze, and hors radish dots
  • Puréed roasted celery root and cauliflower
  • Asparagus spears

Round 5:

  • Chocolate Panna Cotta with balsamic reduction, dallop of cream and strawberries
    Coffee / Tea

The smoked salmon on chive biscuits can be found on the Valentine’s Day menu.

Bacon wrapped dates (these are too yummy, and so easy, you have to try them!):

  • 1 package regular plain ordinary bacon (chose less fat if at all possible)
  • 1 package honey dates (dried and pitted)
  • toothpicks
  1. Cut bacon slices in half width-wise.
  2. In a standard microwave, par cook these half slices for 2-3 minutes (you want to render a lot of the fat out). The bacon will shrink and curl somewhat. You don’t want crispy bacon because it’s impossible to roll around the dates!
  3. Remove bacon and wipe with paper towel to remove more fat. Allow to cool.
  4. Wrap 1 bacon slice around 1 date and skewer with toothpick. You may freeze at this point.
  5. When you want a quick hors d’oeuvres, take the quantity of frozen dates out of the freezer and follow step 6.
  6. Bake in a hot 425°F oven for about 8-10 minutes (bacon should render completely and turn a bit crispy).
  7. Serve. Careful, these are extremely hot.

Puréed Celery Root and Cauliflower (These are going to be a replacement for mashed potatoes, a little better for carb watchers)

  • 1 large head of celery root, cleaned, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • bowl of water with 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large garlic bulb (roasted to soft and squishy)
  1. Pre heat oven to 400°F
  2. Put cleaned and cut up celery root and cauliflower into the bowl of water with olive oil, remove and drain (this process will coat the veg with a little olive oil in a healthier way than drizzling all over. Pour veg into a roasting pan and roast for about 45 minutes.
  3. You may want to roast veg separately since they may cook at different rates. Roast until they are mushy soft.
  4. Pour all veg into a food processor, including roasted garlic (remove cloves from skin).
  5. Purée until very smooth (could take 10 minutes), adding a little bit of water to loosen (not to make soup!)
  6. Remove from processor and strain through a fine sive (this is very important, it will make the purée silky smooth).
  7. Keep warm over a bain marie, and serve like mashed potatoes (use leftovers as soup – just add stock!).

Chocolate Panna Cotta (italian milk jello) adapted from May 2005 Page 108 delicious magazine. Serves 6 (here is a how to video, using a slightly different recipe)

  • 3/4 cup light cream (this is important so jello does not separate)
  • 1 cup milk (whole is best, skim has too much water)
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar (or to taste)
  • 200 g good quality dark semi sweet chocolate (I like it a bit denser, so I add more chocolate!)
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (you don’t want to taste it, just enhance the chocolate flavour)
  • 2 packages gelatin
  • 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar, reduced to 1/4 cup
  • 24 strawberries, hulled and cut into halves
  1. Place cream, sugar and chocolate in a sauce pan on medium heat. Stir until everything is dissolved and melted (about 4-5 minutes)
  2. Then bring mixture to just about to boil and remove from heat.
  3. Use gelatin packs according to directions and whisk into chocolate mixture.
  4. Pour through a fine sieve into 100mL ramekins (I used silicon as they are easy to remove) and chill for 4 hours or overnight.
  5. To serve, run a sharp knife around the edge to loosen and dip each ramekin into boiling water (careful not to let water come into contact with jello) for a couple of seconds. Turn out onto a plate.
  6. On each plate, decorate the equivalent of 4 berries and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Enjoy!

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This past weekend my niece Laura (John’s sister’s daughter) came down from London to do some shopping with me. I tested a dinner menu that we will be serving on the 19th. This is quite possibly the BEST beef I have EVER had. The small 750g beef was $33.00!!!! But really worth it.

Photo and recipe from Epicurious.

Beef tenderloin in a port wine sauce


1 4- to 5-pound trimmed whole beef tenderloin, tail end tucked under, tied every 3 inches
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
3 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper
1 cup ruby or tawny Port (or a really good heavy red wine)
Beef Stock

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons black peppercorns, coarsely cracked in mortar with pestle or in resealable plastic bag with mallet

For beef:
Sprinkle entire surface of beef tenderloin with coarse kosher salt. Place beef on rack set over large rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate uncovered at least 24 hours and up to 36 hours.

For sauce:
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add shallots; sauté until soft, 3 minutes. Add Cognac, rosemary, and 1 teaspoon cracked pepper and cook until liquid evaporates, 1 minute. Add Port; bring to simmer. Add all of beef stock. Boil until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 20 minutes. Strain into medium saucepan, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids in strainer. DO AHEAD: Can be made 24 to 36 hours ahead. Cool slightly, then cover and chill.

For roasting:
Let beef stand at room temperature 1 hour before roasting. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 425°F. Rub beef all over with oil; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cracked peppercorns, pressing to adhere. Return beef to rack on baking sheet and roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of meat registers 125°F for medium-rare (135°F to 140°F in thinnest part), about 30 minutes. Remove roast from oven and let rest 15 minutes.

Bring sauce to boil; whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Cut off string from roast. Cut roast crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices; arrange on platter. Serve with sauce.

TEST-KITCHEN TIP: Salting in advance, also called dry brining, is often done to improve the texture of sinewy cuts of meat. But it also works magic on tender cuts, amping up flavor and juiciness. It sounds counterintuitive; for years the accepted wisdom was that pre-salting dries out meat. But the moderate salting you’ll be doing here does the opposite. Water is first drawn out of the meat and then gets reabsorbed; this saltier, more flavorful moisture helps intensify taste. What’s more, the exterior of the tenderloin dries out slightly, making it quicker to brown in the oven.

Green Beans with Caramalized Shallots (From Epicurious)
2 pounds haricots verts or slender green beans, trimmed
1 pound medium shallots
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme


  1. Cook haricots verts in boiling salted water until tender, about 4 minutes (or 6 minutes if using green beans). Drain. Transfer to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in several layers of paper towels. Seal in plastic bag and chill.
  2. Cut off and discard ends from shallots. Cut shallots lengthwise in half, then remove peel with paring knife. Melt butter with oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low; sauté until shallots are browned and tender, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover loosely with foil and let stand at room temperature.
  3. Add haricots verts to shallots in skillet and stir over medium-high heat until heated through, about 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatos (this is my recipe)
2-3lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 large head garlic
Olive oil, sea salt

  1. Make a pouch out of parchment paper, put garlic in centre (no need to trim or cut) drizzle generously with olive oil and sea salt, and cover completely with parchment and then with foil. Roast in a hot oven 375F for 45 minutes or until garlic is really soft. Let cool slightly.
  2. Remove cloves into a blender – they should just fall out (emersion blender also works). Add olive oil that was used to roast. Add cream or milk or make a nice thick cream. Set aside.
  3. Boil potatoes until soft.
  4. Put potatoes through a potato ricer (this is important to get rid of the chunks).
  5. Whip with an electric mixer beater and add the garlic purée. Add milk or cream to achieve desired consistency.
  6. Keep whipped potatoes warm over a bain marie (a double boiler with simmering water or make one up yourself using a pyrex bowl over simmering water). This is the only way the potatoes will not dry out.

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I have officially begun the baking, and baking!!!! I plan to bake my head off in my new kitchen. It’s a lovely workspace!

Chocolate & skor chip cookies (done)
Peanut Butter & skor chip cookies (done)
Anzak Cookies (done)
Donkey ears (Hungarian specialty) (done)
Chocolate Mint Hershey Kiss Cookies (done)
Peppermint bark (can’t find white chocolate)
Chocolate Truffles (may not make these…too fragile)

Cheddar shortbreads (done)
Parmesan Sticks (done)
Blue cheese truffles (done)

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The Big Bash

We had the bash. I’d been preparing for the party like a fiend: baking, planning, buying, and finishing. It was a mad dash to get all the decorating done. Of course, it wasn’t. Oh well.

I did all of the food, of course, as JT would say! I asked Stacey to help me again because it allows me to enjoy my own party! I decided to keep the hot items to a minimum, since there will be a lot of action in the new kitchen and Stacey won’t be able to move freely within!

Feedback was good, everyone had a great time and the food disappeared (which always makes me feel good!)


Chorizo sausage w. bread
Mediterranean meatballs (these flopped mainly because they were unseen!!)
Bacon wrapped dates
Warm onion confit and goat cheese w. creme fraiche pizza

Shrimp in an ice bowl
Mini smoked salmon, cream cheese bagels
Roasted red peppers and feta w. balsamic dressing
Tomato, bocconcini, basil skewers
Crudité w. blue cheese and onion confit dip
Cheese plate (St. André, Brie, Jarlsberg, Blue, Cheddar)
Sushi (was a bust, really bad rice!)


Bread sticks
French stick
Cheddar Shortbreads

No sugar peanut butter cookies
Butterscotch brownies
Peppermint bark
Two bite brownies

Hot apple cider



Korozot Recipe (Éva’s version)
This is a modified recipe to suit my taste and frankly be a little healthier.

  • 4-6oz Goats Cheese (at room temperature)
  • No fat yogurt (for desired consistency)
  • 2-3 tablespoons paprika puré (hot or sweet, your choice) (this is a Hungarian product that comes in a tube) OR
  • tbsp paprika powder – try with smoked paprika for a totally different flavour
  • 1 Shallot, very finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic (minced on a fine grater)
  • bunch of chives, finely chopped
  1. Blend the goats cheese, shallot and garlic in a food processor until well mixed, adding the yogurt a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved.
  2. Remove from processor and fold in chives.
  3. Serve at room temperature. This is much better the next day when the flavours have had time to melt together.

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Retro with a twist

We were doing a photo shoot for an in store POS on Cheese and one of the recipes was a disgusting cheese fondue that had tomato soup in in (YUCK), but the idea stuck and for our dinner party with Barb and Kevin on Oct 20, I made a fondue dinner. Here is the menu:

Smoked salmon three ways (I wish I shot this because it looked really cool): Mini bagels, smoked salmon and cream cheese (yes, I made the mini bagels myself, about 1″ in diameter so they were perfect poppers!); Smoked salmon ceviche shooter: smoked salmon chopped finely, finely chopped shallot, a few kernels of corn and cilantro chopped, 1 part lime cordial and 1 part vodka in a shooter glass-YUM; Smoked salmon tartar: finely chopped smoked salmon, finely shredded lemon rind, dill on a white Chinese soup spoon, dollop of cream fresh and some red fish eggs for texture (I put the tartar in a cylindrical sleeve for presentation, but just small enough to pop into your mouth in one fell swoop!).

Swiss cheese fondue, home made bread, cheddar cauliflower, brocoli and grape tomatoes. I also wrapped figs and pears in prosciutto for dipping.

Home made chicken soup broth with tartar quality beef finely sliced, sushi quality tuna, sliced in 1″x 1/4″ slices, and shrimp.

Dessert was chocolate fondue with strawberries, pineapple, and pears. Wow!

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